The funny thing about stumps is that they are the dead and rotting remnant of a once vibrant tree. The Kingdom of David looked a lot like that when Isaiah wrote these words. Sin had done its part, and God’s punishment was total destruction of the kingdom. The once vibrant tree looked like a rotting stump. But, in 2 Samuel 7, God had promised that, while discipline will come, the kingdom of David will endure forever. Our lives can look like that. Stuff starts to happen, and we feel just like that old stump! Our lives are going nowhere, and what once was vibrant and alive now feels cold and dead. We wonder where God is and why he left us. But has he left us? Israel had to ask that question too. They had to wonder where God was. The kingdom was divided and brokenness reigned. That’s the thing about God: He doesn’t make promises He won’t keep. Out of that stump of brokenness God sent forth a shoot. That shoot would change everything. That branch is Jesus, the hope of the nations. Perhaps sin has taken a hold of your heart, and you know its time for a change. Or maybe life and its realities have hit home, and you feel lost, cold and separated from God. Please know there is hope! The hope of the root of Jesse was that one day there would come forth a shoot. That shoot would change everything and it did. If sin is the problem, Jesus bore your sin, and He offers you forgiveness and the opportunity to start over. If life feels overwhelming, remember that Jesus is the spirit of wisdom and understanding. He is the spirit of counsel and might. He is the spirit of knowledge. Whatever is going on in your life this Advent season, give it to Jesus. He, the root of Jesse, can bear your burden!

~ Randy Overstreet